Disability Retirement for Federal Government Employees: Authentication

There is a process and means by which it is accomplished — as in authenticating a painting or an antique piece of furniture, jewelry, etc.; of an autograph or handwritten letter (although, many will say that in the field of forensic sciences, handwritten analysis is far from reaching a vaunted level of precision or reliability); of a pet’s pedigree or even of a person’s right to have access to sensitive information, etc.

Authentication is thus a process of verification, of identifying X as being Not-Y in many instances, where exclusion by elimination of other possibilities results in the declaration of the genuineness of the person or thing declared to be so.

When applied to an object, it inspects and compares against other objects within a historical context, style, peculiar features of an artisan’s eccentricities, period-characteristics and signature features, etc.  When applied to an individual, it may take into account physical features as well (appearance; finger prints; voice matching; DNA sample, etc.), but could also encompass questions posed and answers given, and depending upon the comparison to known archives of historical background checks made against statements previously provided, deem that an “authentication” has been reached concerning the “true” identity of an individual, akin to declaring that a painting previously unverified is in fact a product of this or that “Master”, or that an antique furniture piece was the craftsmanship of some famous cabinetmaker during the Jeffersonian Renaissance period or from some pop-culture minimalist timeframe during the early Sixties, etc.

The process of “authentication”, of course, can be distinguished from whether or not an individual is living an “authentic life”, as well, and here, the meanings become somewhat muddled and divided.  One can be “authenticated” and be allowed access to sensitive banking information, be allowed to use a credit card, write a check, etc., and still live an inauthentic life (e.g., act like someone you are not, present yourself as a “family man” despite all the while committing multiple affairs; live a double or triple or even a quadruple life and deceive everyone around, etc.).

The process in reaching a conclusion as to whether a person is living an authentic or inauthentic life is somewhat different from “authenticating” a person.  For, to engage in the former analysis, it is normally done for the most part as a self-analysis (i.e., only the person who is living an inauthentic life can know for certain whether it is so or not), whereas the methodology imposed of “authenticating” a period-piece or an individual (the latter) is by applying a more objective standard of comparative review.

For the Federal or Postal employee who is suffering from a medical condition, where the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the dual issues of “authentication” and “authentic living” come to the fore, precisely because the Federal or Postal employee becomes forced into behaving in rather inauthentic ways.

Hiding the medical condition; trying desperately to work through the debilitating symptoms and maintaining an appearance of normalcy; and all the while trying to force a consistency between one’s capacity and the watchful eyes of the Federal Agency or the Postal Service — these are the elements that challenge the authenticity of one’s life.

Living an authentic life under normal circumstances is difficult enough; trying to authenticate one’s capacity to continue “as is” in the face of a progressively deteriorating medical condition makes it all the more challenging.  It may be that preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is the only way forward in forging an authentic pathway away from an inauthentic morass that the medical condition has forced upon you.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Medical Retirement under FERS & CSRS: Deviating and adapting

How does one deviate or adapt, if one is approaching something anew?

Such concepts as modifying or altering a methodology presumes that one has encountered the process before, and thus it stands to reason that a person who has never previously experienced something before can hardly be expected to provide new insights when the experience itself is new to the individual.  That is why we often refer to a person’s ability and capacity to “think on his or her feet” — meaning, to quickly encompass and adapt to new and fluid circumstances, despite a lack of familiarity with an onslaught of speedy changes.

Deviating, of course, can be a negative component, in that it may imply altering from a true-and-tested course of action, and unless one is certain of one’s confidence in a new path taken, there may ensue disastrous consequences when following a rebellious path that can lead to the unknown.  Many a trailblazer who knew not the way of the unbeaten path have perished by starvation or thirst.

On the other hand, we consider the capacity and ability of “adapting” to be a positive characteristic, in that it implies a characteristic of being able to respond to external circumstances that are changing, and requires a willingness to bend with the winds of change.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition begins to prevent the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, the dual concept of deviating and adapting comes to the fore precisely because of the need to change — both on the Agency/Postal Service’s side, as well as from the perspective of the Federal or Postal employee.

For the Federal Agency or the Postal Service, the issue of deviating and adapting comes about in terms of “accommodation” — for, it is necessary for the Federal Agency and the Postal Service, by force of law, to “deviate” from the former ways of behaving, and to “adapt” to the medical conditions and changes that the Federal or Postal employee is undergoing.

From the viewpoint of the Federal or Postal employee, deviating and adapting may encompass a wide range of issues in terms of accommodations — whether the situation and conditions posed are temporary or permanent by nature; whether the medical conditions suffered are able to be accommodated at all, either temporarily or permanently; and whether attendance is an issue; of how much SL must be taken; of FMLA issues and extensions of LWOP beyond, etc.

In the end, deviating and adapting from the “norm” may not be possible, in which case preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, may become necessary.

For all Federal and Postal employees, what is important to remember is that suffering from a progressively deteriorating medical condition will require deviating and adapting, and that may include the need to have expert legal guidance by an attorney who has previously had the experience in preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application so that any and all deviations and adaptations can be initiated from the perspective of previous experience, and not as a trailblazer off of the beaten path where getting lost in the complexities of Federal Disability Retirement Laws can lead to disastrous results.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Attorney Representation for OPM Disability Claims: Mountain climbing

Whether for the exhilaration of the activity or the sheer confrontation of the challenge looming, it is a sport that captures the imagination of the fitness-enthusiast, the romantic and the eccentric loner alike.  It is the sport that engages the competitive spirit not against another’s ability or the coordinated capacity of large teams having practiced together, but against the inert heights of peaks and impervious rock faces that show no emotion as to one’s success or failure.

Mountain climbing has many phases and stages, both of skill and type; of a walk along a trail; a hike up an incline; or for the serious contender, the challenge against the fear of height and failure.  Is the challenge against one’s own fear?  Is the thrill that of attaining that climber’s high where energy is suddenly released and the conquering senses are suddenly embraced by the thrill of nature’s impassive will?

There are mountains to climb, and some of us do it in the physical sense, while the rest of us contend with the metaphorical mountains that need to be climbed each and every day.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition, where the medical condition itself is the mountain to climb, it will often become necessary to go on to the “next level” of the climb itself, by preparing, formulating and filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, to be submitted through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset.

For some, mountain climbing is an actual physical activity; for the rest of us, it is a metaphorical application that reflects the strenuous life challenges beyond ordinary encounters of daily living.  For Federal and Postal employees who suffer from a medical condition where the medical condition itself prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, it becomes more than a metaphor — it is, instead, the obstacle that prevents, no less than the peak that abuts before the first step is taken for the mountain climbing enthusiast.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

OPM Medical Retirement Legal Representation: The waiting room

We have all experienced the psychology of the cursed “waiting room” — that place which is assigned as the “intermediate” lull, like purgatory for the virtuous-to-be, where they think that by making you believe that you have now been chosen to wait in a separately sequestered area, your patience will become refreshed and you will allow for another lengthy wait.  The psychologists have it all figured out, don’t they?

First, you are left to wait with the “rest of them”; then, your name is called, and you leave those who have been waiting just as long, or some even longer, with a smug smile, thinking to yourself, “Whew, finally!”  But that sense of relief is short-lived, for it becomes clear that the room you have been lead into is merely another surreal suspension of reality’s cruel viciousness — for, this is merely an intermediate form of torture: The Waiting Room, where the real wait begins.

Somehow, the psychologists have figured out through studies conducted that patients, clients, potential customers, etc., will tolerate quite a bit of waiting so long as there is an “interlude” between waiting periods.  So, say you are at first forced into a queue with a group of others — the studies have revealed that 20 – 30 minutes is the maximum before agitation begins to manifest itself, unless you are “selected” and sequestered into a separate queue where your tolerance for a further waiting period can begin anew.

Of course, in reality, nothing has changed — it is simply that your waiting has been transferred from one area to another.  Can this occur multiple times?

Apparently, the studies have shown that, yes, so long as the logistics of the waiting period have been altered — as in, say, after 20 minutes for the 2nd waiting queue, a nurse walks in, looks at you and places a folder into the filing basket attached to the door.  Somehow, that momentary interruption focuses the waiting individual that your time is approaching, that we have not forgotten about you, and you will soon be seen.

The psychology of intermediate contacts increases one’s hope for the end of the waiting period, despite the fact that the same waiting period continues — it is just that the hour’s wait is broken up into segments of three 20 minute slices, and that, according to all of the psychological studies, makes all the difference.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who suffer from a medical condition such that the medical condition prevents the Federal or Postal employee from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, one of the frustrating aspects of filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS offset, is the long and arduous wait that must be anticipated before a decision is made.

Expect the worst; hope for the best.  There are multiple stages to the process — of the Initial Stage; of the Reconsideration Stage; of an Appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and even of a Petition for Full Review before the MSPB.

Thus, if you took all of the multiple stages, the “wait time” is tantamount to the slicing up of that very “wait time”, and the best way to give yourself the benefit of a higher percentage of success is to make sure that you increase your chances of getting it approved at the Initial Stage by consulting with an attorney who specializes in Federal Disability Retirement Law, lest you remain fuming in the Waiting Room where everyone else taps his or her foot while the collective blood pressures continue to rise.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

Legal Representation on Federal Disability Retirement Claims: False notions

We all possess them; some, more than others; most, of a harmless variety where — so long as they are kept private and unannounced like an illegitimate child kept from the knowledge of one’s spouse, friends and family — no consequences ensue from the mere “having” of them.  False notions can take many forms, and on the spectrum of held beliefs, so long as one never “acts” upon them or otherwise expresses them in polite society, they remain the eccentric uncle that visits periodically but for short stays, and always tries to remain unobtrusive.

Say a person believes that the earth is flat — yes, there are many such people, to the extent that there are contingents of “flat earth societies” cropping up everywhere — but moreover, not only that the earth is flat, but you also believe that martians live on the far side of the moon, that every book published in the world over is written by Shakespeare, and that there is truly a wizard of Oz that controls the mechanism of the universe.  What harm is there in believing any of those?

Perhaps some are false notions; perhaps others are not.  So long as they do not intersect with conversations in the public domain, or do not interfere in the daily activities of living one’s life, is there any harm to possessing, maintaining, retaining and ascribing to false notions?

Take it a step further, however, and insert the following hypothetical: At a “get together” with coworkers and other departmental or other office personnel, a conversation begins with a group of gathered men and women, and someone begins talking about a new book that has just been reviewed by the New York Times Book Review Section, and one of the individuals pipes in that it, too, was written by Shakespeare.

The first person says, “No, no, it was written by so-and-so”, but the second individual persists and insists, and an argument starts: “No, it was written by Shakespeare.”  “You’re crazy.”  “No, you don’t know a thing!”  “And you probably believe that the earth is flat.”  And on and on.  Now, the next day, everyone is back at work — has anything changed?

Holding on to the false notions has not disrupted the flow of productivity, and the fact that one’s false notions were inserted unnecessarily into the daily discourse of other’s beliefs and understanding of an individual, has not disrupted the objective universe of those who gained further knowledge of another’s belief system.  False notions, then, so long as they remain private, or even when inserted into the public domain but without objective interference, may remain unobtrusive.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers, however, who suffer from a medical condition, such that the medical condition is beginning to prevent the Federal or Postal worker from performing one or more of the essential elements of one’s Federal or Postal job, a false notion can indeed have some deleterious consequences.

If you, as a Federal or Postal employee, possess a false notion of pride, or of loyalty to the Agency or the Postal Service at the expense of your health, and thus delay preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether as a FERS, CSRS or CSRS-Offset employee, the impact of further delay or procrastination can impact your health.

False notions are fine to foolhardily have fun with, but when it intersects with your health, it is time to prepare, formulate and file an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be filed with OPM.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire

 

 

Federal & Postal Disability Retirement from OPM: Departures

How one leaves is often important — not just subjectively, but encompassing consequences and reverberations unanticipated.  Consider the ultimate departure — of leaving a Will or not.  One might counter that, Well, what difference does it make; I won’t be there to witness what happens after I am gone; and, in any event, who cares if they fight over what little possessions I leave.  “I won’t be there, anyway.”  But your memories will; the memory of who you were and the aftertaste of a legacy left behind.

Then, there are the mundane departures — of the daily goodbyes to go to work; of leaving work to come home; of a trip on trains, planes and cars; or just a trip to the local store while that loyal dog awaits your arrival back home.

For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are preparing to file for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the question of how a “departure” is characterized in the meantime may have some not-so-insignificant impact upon a Federal Disability Retirement application down the proverbial road.

Resignation may be necessary — say, in order to access one’s TSP in order to survive the lengthy administrative process of awaiting a decision by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management; or perhaps simply wanting a “clean break” before, during or after filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits. Or, the departure may take the form of a termination or an administrative separation initiated by the Federal Agency or the U.S. Postal Service, in which case one may argue the Bruner Presumption in favor of one’s Federal Disability Retirement application.

These are all important and relevant considerations in preparing, formulating and filing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, where departures —like one’s Last Will and Testament — may have some relevance in the fight which ensues in the aftermath of one’s absence.

Sincerely,

Robert R. McGill, Esquire